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Old cold noodle dish becomes hot new favorite

Updated: 2021-12-01 09:54 ( Xinhua )
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XI'AN-In a factory workshop, cold noodles and seasonings are packed into bags on an assembly line in preparation for delivery to dinner tables across the country and the world.

These cold noodles, called ganmianpi in Chinese, are a specialty of Baoji, a city in Northwest China's Shaanxi province.

Xu Lu, office director of the Baoji Shangrun Food Company, said they receive more than 500 orders a day via e-commerce platforms, with each order averaging seven bags of noodles.

With a registered trademark, an industrial park and a special cold noodle industrial school, Baoji has turned the once handmade snack into a business worth more than 5 billion yuan ($782 million) a year.

The dish dates back as far as the Tang Dynasty (618-907), but it was during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) that imperial chef Wang Tongjiang returned to his hometown in Qishan county, Baoji, after retiring and taught fellow villagers how to make ganmianpi.

Today, the snack has become a local symbol.

Making the noodles is not simple. About an hour after the dough is made, it is repeatedly washed in water and then left for eight hours. After a series of steps, including fermentation, rolling, steaming and cooling, the dough is sliced into pliable but chewy noodles. Chili oil, gluten and vinegar are commonly used as seasoning.

Zhang Xinhuai started his ganmianpi business in the 1990s.

"All I had were a few tables and stools at a roadside stall," recalled the skillful noodle maker, who is now head of the city's ganmianpi industrial development and promotion association.

Zhang said that many small cold noodle businesses like his were a vital part of local lives.

In 2014, ganmianpi hit online shopping platforms, attracting orders from across the country.

In the Baoji Panlong New Area, three companies have become the first to begin operations at the Baoji Ganmianpi Industrial Park. According to Li Peng, manager of the project, the park aims to become an industrial cluster combining cold noodle processing, e-commerce, logistics, technological development and tourism.

Last year, the Baoji ganmianpi industry reached the 5 billion yuan mark and now employs some 50,000 people across different sectors. The noodles have been exported to more than 20 countries and regions, including the United States, Canada, Japan and Australia.

A cold noodle industrial school was also set up in May at the Shaanxi Institute of Mechatronic Technology.

Yi Xunzhi, Party chief of the institute, said that in combination with the institute's professional competences, which extend to mechanics, electronics, automation, industrial robotics among other disciplines, the new school will be helpful for the integrated development of business, universities and research in the cold noodle sector.

According to Zhang Xinhuai, the city has registered the Baoji ganmianpi trademark with the aim of opening 10,000 chain restaurant outlets in 1,000 cities. It is also applying to register the snack as a protected geographical indication product. "We plan to expand the industrial chain with farms to produce raw materials like wheat and chili and create a highland for healthy food," he said.

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The news conference of the 2022 China International Travel Mart, Kunming, Yunnan province. [Photo/Chinaculture.org]

The 2022 China International Travel Mart was launched in Kunming, Yunnan province today. The three-day event opened at the Kunming Dianchi Lake International Convention and Exhibition Centre, with a theme focusing on smart innovation and high-quality tourism industry aspects.

The news conference was held in the city on Thursday. Zhang Xilong, first class inspector of the Bureau of the International Communication and Cooperation of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China and Lou Kewei, deputy-director of the Department of Culture and Tourism of Yunnan province presented the meeting along with academy and entrepreneur representatives.

The conference introduced the preparations and relevant activities of the mart, such as a forum on smart tourism and innovation, a symposium on international travel communication and cooperation in the framework of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and a workshop on the China-Laos railway’s contribution to building an Asian community with a shared future.

According to the news meeting, the 2022 travel mart covers about 80,000 square meters, with about 4,200 standard booths. 71 countries and regions attended the event both online and offline, and 31 domestic provinces, cities and autonomous regions and 261 independent exhibition teams.

Online services will be provided to the overseas buyers and sellers in the light of time zones. They could also have a face-to-face negotiation at the mart as well.

The mart also has diverse displays to show culture and tourism, physical education and tourism, as well as overseas tourism and museums.

The National Cultural Heritage Administration, the Palace Museum and museums from other provinces will attend the travel mart.

At the event, Yunnan province will have 2,000 standard booths in four separate sections; each will show culture tourism, healthy lifestyles, physical education tourism and culture tourism consumption.

The travel mart will also stick to the rules of pandemic prevention and control while having the activities go on smoothly.

The news conference of the 2022 China International Travel Mart, Kunming, Yunnan province. [Photo/Chinaculture.org]
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